Test Driving Scully in St James – new tasting menu brings us back | Road test


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Chief Boss Ramael Scully behind the pass

Scully has been open for a while, hasn’t it? Why are you entering now?

You’re right, Scully first opened in 2018. As one of the first places to hit St James’s Market, it saw patron chef Ramael Scully (who was once the head chef de NOPI) delight guests with dishes inspired by his Malaysian Childhood. And we were duly impressed.

Not only that, but Ramael had some very ambitious goals when it came to building a library of ingredients through pickling and preserving. The lockdown gave her more time to stock her pantry and this fall, all that hard work paid off. He replaced the restaurant’s evening offering with a tasting menu only. There are two on offer – both eight courses. The standard tasting menu is £110, the vegan tasting menu is £90.

Remind us where it is again?

If you’ve never been to St James’s Market, walk down Regent Street and turn into Carlton Street. Scully is on the right corner. The nearest tube is Piccadilly Circus.

Where should we meet for a drink first?

The Beau Bar further down the market is a worthwhile bet, but if you’re thinking of having a pre-dinner cocktail, we’d suggest heading straight here.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonI always think of the Earl Gray martini (left)…

The best table in the house?

If you are a group, the long communal table in front of the kitchen is a great place. We loved our tables at the col too.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonThese tables for two at the col give diners the advantage of being able to talk or spy on the chefs at work while also allowing you to have your own space to chat.

What is on the menu?

We gave normal and vegan tasting menus a boost during our visit. Here are some of the many highlights of the meal:

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonTwo of three vegan canapes – on the left a blueberry and pumpkin seed miso snack while on the right is a pea miso takoyaki topped with a wasabi curry leaf oil emulsion. A very good start.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonBoth menus feature a signature dish – the arepa made with eight-day-old fermented cornbread and served with Scully’s mother’s eggplant sambal. The vegan version comes with cedar lemon and coconut labneh, the standard version includes a bergamot labneh. Tear up the arepa, pour this labneh inside and enjoy.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonBarbeque-aged stone bass served with shio koji butter, brown prawns, gooseberries and a super flavorful Zerbinati melon mash. It might sound like a weird combo, but adding the melon was a game changer.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonReturning to the vegan menu, it was the betel leaf filled with a tomato sofrito, pickled green peaches and smoked almonds served with lime shio kohi.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonUrfa Chilli Short Rib Pastrami with Turnip and Salted Radish Bush – the non-vegan menu, of course, and just a well-cooked piece of meat.

scully st james tasting menu restaurant review londonOne of the two desserts that preceded the petit fours, it was a wonderful dish of sticky coconut caramelized rice served with Malaysian jackfruit sorbet (fermented in a rice cooker for 10 days!) accompanied by powder slow-toasted jasmine rice (this appears on both menus).

And the drinks?

Seemed fair to go for the drink pairing to get the full experience here. As sommelier Carolina Seibel explains, “When it comes to wine pairing, I want to match the diversity and elements of food, from fun to sophisticated, offering guests different drink styles.” This inventiveness extends to an alcohol-free pairing (£40) using homemade ferments and syrups.

Our wine steal deal was £70, starting with a Delouvin family producer Champagne and ending with a 15 year old Madeira.

General thoughts:

In four years it was open Scully gained a new leader, Dom Auger, and really grew into himself. The staff, including the exuberant GM Olivia McGowan, keep up the energy you can see in the kitchen, which makes for a truly engaging and fun experience. They even invite guests back to spend time in the kitchen getting their hands dirty. This is a restaurant that loves what it does and wants to share that love. They do it very well.

Learn more about Scully

Where is he? 4 St James’s Market, St James’s, London SW1Y 4QU

How to book: Book online at www.scullyrestaurant.com/

Learn more: Follow their news on Twitter @Scully_ldn and on Instagram @Scullyrestaurant/

Hot diners dined as Scully’s guests. Prices correct at time of publication.

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